O.J. Simpson's Life on Parole: An Expert Weighs In

Retired NFL player was granted parole after serving nine years in prison for a botched armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room

By Beth Sobol, Corinne Heller Jul 20, 2017 9:01 PMTags

O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after serving nine years in prison for a botched armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room.

The retired NFL player, who in 1995 was famously acquitted of double murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, will be released from jail on October.

"I have done my time and I'd like to get back to my friends. And believe it or not I do have some friends," O.J. said. "I don't think anyone could have honored this institution better...I'm sorry it happened."

"I'm at a point in my life where all I want to do is spend as much time as I can with my children and my friends," he added. "I've done my time and I've done it was well and respectfully as I can." 

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Prison consultant and motivational speaker John Fuller of prisoncoachspeaking.com, who is not involved in the case, told E! News exclusively he is "not totally" surprised by the parole board's decision.

"I know he had taken [an] Alternatives to Violence [course], which is a very effective program which is for domestic violence, gangs, bullies, the whole nine yards," he said. "I think that may have satisfied the board because if you think about the stigma of 1995 and you think of O.J., you think about violence. When you think about this particular crime, even though there was no physical contact, there was a presumption by the victims that there would be violence because someone brandished a weapon. Because O.J. took Alternatives to Violence, I feel that had some influence on the board."

So now what? 

Jason Bean/The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP, Pool

Where Will O.J. Live? In 2000, five years after he was acquitted of the murders, O.J. bought a home in Florida and sold the Brentwood, California house where the killings occurred. The Florida home was sold in a foreclosure auction in 2013 for $655,000.

"He has been trying to do everything he can to win his release, and the idea was that he'd have a home to come back to," his attorney at the time told Miami.com. "We were hoping for the best, but it didn't happen."

At his parole hearing, when asked if he would return to Florida if he were released, Simpson responded, "I could stay in Nevada, but I don't think you guys want me here."

So if he did file a formal request to live in Florida, would it be granted?

"They'll always take that into consideration. But he has to have some form of property or family ties to that state," Fuller told E! News. "He may own a residence there still or say he's going to live with his daughter during this time. He may have had family move into his home or have purchased a property there."

Money? After he was acquitted of the double murders, O.J. was found to be civilly liable for Nicole and Ron's deaths and was ordered to pay their families $33.5 million in damages. 

"I hope that no one ever has to walk in our shoes," Ron's sister Kim Goldman said on Good Morning America before O.J. was granted parole. "But we know that millions of people on a daily basis, on a yearly basis, are impacted by trauma and crime and the civil system awarded us a judgment and it is our job to follow the system, to follow the law, and to pursue that that judgment."

Some of Simpson's money is already protected from creditors; namely, his estimated $25,000 monthly pension from the NFL.  

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What About Parole Restrictions? "If OJ is running any type of legal business, he will have to submit his taxes," Fuller said. "If O.J. wants to frequent a bar, that will probably be off-limits. If O.J. associates with any friends who happen to have a felony, they could revoke his parole. One of the stipulations will be you will not be around anyone convicted of a felony. So if he has any friends who have been convicted of domestic violence or have violence in their past, it could be his downfall. He may get form to fill out once a month and that form will ask, 'Have you had any contact with any gangbangers or any felons?'"

"He's going to have to indicate where he is traveling," Fuller added. "He's going to have to submit any itinerary to the parole board. They're going to want to know his flight numbers and where he's going to stay. He'll have a target on his back. OJ is always going to have a target on his back. So he better not be a disturbance on an airplane or at the airport. If he decides to travel, even to let's say Georgia, he can't drive across the border without permission. He would be in violation." 

Will His Celebrity Affect His Parole? "Everyone doesn't get the same treatment," Fuller said. "A lot of times parole officers focus on more high-risk individuals. They'll be going to O.J.'s house, they're going to look around his house but only the room he sleeps in. They're not going to be allowed to search anywhere else in the house unless the house is in his name. If he transferred everything to his daughter's name, they're going to look only in his room because his daughter will be the owner of the property."

"They're probably going to give him random urine tests too," he added. "If there are any drugs or if he shouldn't be using alcohol and that pops up, they can handcuff him right there."

Can He Handle the Restrictions? "If he had one year, two year, three years to go, I think he might fare pretty well," Fuller said. "But if he is going to be on parole for another eight or nine years it could be difficult for him. He'll be advised of it, they're going to go by Las Vegas terms and conditions, which is 50 percent. He was sentenced to 33 years, eligible for parole after nine and he can complete it in six years. So by the year 2023 or 2026, the conditions of his parole should be behind him."

What About Media Appearances? During the hearing, O.J. said he has no interest in returning to the media spotlight.

"It will be very interesting to see if that's really the case and he stays out of the spotlight as he promised during the parole hearing," Fuller said. "He's free to do any interviews he wants though."